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Painters demonstrate diversity in style, technique


LARGO -- Three new exhibitions at the Gulf Coast Museum of Art provide evidence that the museum continues to find advanced talent.

"Landscapes/City Scenes" by Josette Urso, "New Work" by Richard Currier and "Filmed Edifices" by Bianca Pratorius show evidence of diversity in intention and style and underscore the broad range of techniques and idioms currently in use in contemporary painting.

"All three artists on some level deal with organic forms and work from what is immediately seen around them," said curator Kurt Piazza.

Urso's paintings and drawings reflect her love of small flower gardens on which city dwellers lavish so much attention.

"Japanese Lantern-Close" is a small, biomorphic abstraction of red, blue, green and gray impasto marks submerged within a dark, shallow space.

"Garden Interior," a pen- and-ink drawing, is closer to representation in its simplified shapes and space. Nonetheless, it is essentially an exercise in ambiguity between representational and nonrepresentational forms. Nothing is fully articulated, allowing Urso to render the energy of nature as a semi-abstract wonderland.

Richard Currier was educated at Sarasota's Ringling School of Art & Design. His "On Edge Carambola" is a large-scale, realist still-life suffused with dramatic light and atmosphere.

It is an approach to realism reminiscent of 17th-century Dutch painters influenced by the technical methods of the Italian master Caravaggio. In his painting, however, Currier renders the fruit on the scale of a billboard. He writes that the fruits in his paintings serve "as characters in a stage-play, each object with its own role."

Bianca Pratorius is the most intriguing artist of the three. She paints buildings or sites under construction, deconstructing their defining elements and reintroducing them as distorted edifices that function as a memory of a place rather than as a real one.

"Filmed Edifice" is a green and pale-blue encaustic-on- canvas representation of an unfinished high rise. The empty floors and open facade suggest a stage awaiting actors.